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It’s that time of year again: Time to take stock of the vast armies of new musicians making music in the past year, and to pick out a few dozen of the best and brightest. In the three previous annual versions of this column, we’ve hailed the arrivals of Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, A$AP Rocky, Grimes, Savages, Best Coast, Zola Jesus, HAIM, DIIV, and a host of others. Some have gone on to greatness, and others have slipped away into obscurity, but they’ve all deserved a few minutes of your attention. And that’s also the case with this year’s list, which makes room for frantic art-rappers, rickety DIY punk bands, slickly synthy festival-beaters, grimy art-noise warehouse-annihilators, and, um, Diarrhea Planet.

Our list is alphabetical, not ranked, and it comes with a handy 40-song playlist of every act included. But before you go all the way in, we should point out what we mean when we say “new band.” Some of these acts have been around for a while, but they’ve really come to prominence in the last 12 months. And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, have fun discovering and arguing about all the artists who made this year’s list.


Stereogum’s 40 Best New Bands Of 2012
Stereogum’s 40 Best New Bands Of 2011
Stereogum’s 40 Best New Bands Of 2010

Comments (127)
  1. Parquet Courts were so last year in my book, but I guess the re-release of Light Up Gold makes that exception.

    I’m just looking through my list of new/er bands I covered in my dead blog, and actually, it was a pretty weak year for new talent. That’s probably for the best because 2013′s year-end list albums are going to be owned by big name vets and icons, so if you were looking for a breakthrough, this was not the year to try to make it. 2014 on the other hand should be better. A few of the other Exploding In Sound bands like Palehound, Ovlov and Two Inch Astronaut come to mind as ones I would have considered.

    • Oh, California X, too!

    • Oh, and the emo “revival” bands! Dads, Little Big League and The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die come to mind.

    • Even though her sophomore effort came out this year, I would have expected to see Waxahatchee on this list considering all of the adoration and praise this site gave her. In that regard, I don’t understand what makes a band “new” on this list because I can spot a few bands on here who aren’t spring chickens in regards to just getting around to releasing their first full-length LP.

      • The rules for eligibility are sort of loose — we’re looking at acts that rose to prominence in the last 12 months (since last year’s list was published), not just bands that formed or released their first single during that time. We considered Waxahatchee, of course, but it didn’t feel new. Other excellent technically new acts like Run The Jewels and The Julie Ruin were excluded because they are known quantities and didn’t really fit the spirit of what we’re trying to do.

        • “…we’re looking at acts that rose to prominence in the last 12 months (since last year’s list was published), not just bands that formed or released their first single during that time…”

          The very first post dedicated to Waxahatchee on Stereogum was published on January 24, 2013. I think that fits the last 12 months / rose to prominence criteria, even more so than Parquet Courts, a band whose single you premiered on November 12, 2012 and also already included on last year’s Top 50 Albums list. This makes no sense to me! I understand her debut came out last year, but it was widely slept on, much like many people didn’t really pay much attention to Deafheaven until this year.

          • Not to demystify the making of the sausage but: I fought hard against including Waxahatchee not because I don’t like her (in fact I do!) but because her first album had been widely praised in the mainstream media including NPR and the New York Times in 2012 (and she was a member of PS Eliot before that); also our own Liz Pelly had listed the first Waxahatchee record as her own No. 1 album of 2012. Parquet Courts’ Light Up Gold was released on 8/18/2012, less than a month before we published our 2012 Best New Bands list, at which point we were well into the planning stages, so they never had a chance to make it last year, and the album was given “wide” release in January 2013, so they made the cut for this year’s list. Anybody who was sleeping on Deafheaven was sleeping on Deafheaven, but that band has been featured on Stereogum as far back as June 2011. That said, this really isn’t a perfect science. If you want to find flaws in our methodology, you probably will.

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          • Your argument has merit! No goin’ back now, though. But like I said, it’s not like we didn’t consider including her, and it’s also not like we won’t include her on other lists come December.

          • Thanks, and I’m embarrassed at the volume of information I hold in my head when it comes to archiving the timeline of Stereogum history.

          • The barrage of downvotes on my factually accurate defense on why excluding Waxahatchee was wrong confuses me. Do you all just hate Waxahatchee that much, or is it that you can’t handle the evidence proving why the steps taken to compile this list sometimes eschew facts and consistency, thus making for a somewhat flawed compilation?

          • I think it’s that your being a pedant.

          • *you’re…sorry

      • I was pulling for Waxahatchee, personally, but since her exclusion and other similar omissions meant we could rep some lesser known act here instead, I ain’t mad.

    • Agree about big name vets ruling the waves this year. Aside from Disclosure and maybe Chvrches, I haven’t been blown away by anything shiny new yet. But I’m gonna have to dive into this playlist and see what I find…

      • I was just thinking this the other day. Last year was huge for new acts – this year seems to be the year of the sturdy, reliable acts really coming back with a vengeance. I’d like to think that they were pushed to do better with the new guys from last year lighting a fire under their feet. I like to think a lot of things that aren’t true though.

    • Ovlov FTW, yes.

    • what about haim, and nietzkov?

  2. Wow, I never knew Rhye had a male singer.


  4. I think by the operating definition of “new”, King Krule might fit on with his first full-length. Also Dawn of Midi.

  5. I find myself cursing the guy who invented the concept of the Web Gallery. He’s right up there with the dude who came up with water levels in the Mario games.

  6. Stereogum’s 38 Bands Nobody Will Give a Damn About 5 Years From Now, and 2 That Might Maybe Actually Pan Out.

  7. Power Trip rules the world. Need to check Noisem.

    That Diarrhea Planet album is a blast.

  8. I’m not listening to 40 songs! With GTA V and breaking bad I have enough on my plate. Anyone care to whittle this down to 10?

  9. The absence of John Wizards from this list makes me REALLY dissapointed. You guys have got to get on this album, it’s fucking amazing and probably in my top 5 of the year to this point.

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  11. The run from Pity Sex through PUP is pretty ace. Also enjoyed Designer, Hausu, and Tweens.

    If releasing their debut in 2013 isn’t a requirement, I’d add Take Over and Destroy and Windhand. They both topped Black Markets this year, and I hadn’t heard of them last year.

    • Yeah TOAD was strongly considered and maybe not including them was a mistake. Windhand released an LP in Feb. 2012 (Soma is their sophomore album) so I think they’re legitimately not eligible but if they were, NO QUESTION they would have been on this list — that album is incredible.

  12. You guys left off Quiet Hounds.

  13. Speedy Ortiz put out a seriously awesome album. NO HOOKWORMS THOUGH? COME ON STEREOGUM, YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT!

  14. The Empress Of EP is so damn good. Glad to see her on here.

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  16. Priests, Pharmakon, Noisem, and Yellow Eyes have all really done it for me this year. I like what I’m hearing from Sadgiqacea and Speedy Ortiz too so far. Neato list.

    • Agreed about all of those! Pharmakon came out of nowhere for me in the beginning of this year, and her album basically reminded me why I loved noise so much to begin with.

      Within that little niche of music it’s really a landmark album.

      • Yes. The Pharmakon album really gave the noise world a much needed kick in the pants. This really has been a great year for music in a lot of niche genres.

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  18. I love these lists. Helps me find new stuff when I’ve overplayed Monomania and mbv.

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  20. MarkP you’ve obviously never seen Diarrhea Planet. They fucking shred. Everything Infinity Cat puts out is fire.

  21. awww yeah I saw diarrhea planet at SXSW and they melted my mother-fucking face off.

  22. If you get passed the name “Diarrhea Planet” they actually are really good.

  23. Lot of good music on here thanks Stereogum!

  24. A lot of good stuff here… love your hip hop mentions.

    But also some big omissions that I’ve noticed (just my opinion ya’ll):
    Jagwar Ma – the new Tame Impala??
    Kate Boy – some of the best singles out all year.
    Roosevelt – killer EP out a couple weeks ago.
    Postiljonen – (seriously… why is no one talking about these guys?)
    Diana – very underrated debut.
    Twin Peaks…. etc etc.

  25. I still listen to Acid Rap on a very regular basis. It’s probably the best mixtape I’ve heard since Drake’s So Far Gone. Good things are coming Chance, good things.

  26. I <333 DIARRHEA PLANET. And Designer…. and A$AP Ferg. great list, damn.

  27. No love for Joanna Gruesome?

  28. FKA Twigs FTW fuck yeah! ‘How’s That’ is muh jam.

  29. You guys are so punk now!
    Bands I would have liked to see:
    Julia Brown
    The World is Beautiful Place and I am no longer afraid to Die
    Joanna Gruesome
    Milk Music
    Destruction Unit

    Admittedly some of the bands may not actually be “new”, but I found out about all of them this year.

  30. So many good Ohio bands.

    • i heard nietzkov in an online radio station and maybe his avantgarde album 2013 should be here, it is different, just make the other stuff sound the same

  31. Shouting Matches
    Mister Lies

  32. Hey look! All the bands I won’t get around to checking out until 6-8 months from now! My new music queue is so backed up…

  33. Chvches, Disclosure and Diarrhea Planet (!) are three bands that I may not enjoy much, but I believe they’re headed places and not just part of the standard hype machine. NYC’s Talk fine, L.A.’s Distortion Mirrors and NYC’s El Rio are bands that have been getting some impressive buzz and play that aren’t on this list yet. Good list though Stereogum. I think a few on there are going to be future stars ;)

  34. Top 5 band names from this list:

    1. Krill
    2. Goat
    3. Parquet Courts
    4. Priests
    5. Power Trip

    Worst names:
    1. Young Scooter
    2. Pity Sex

    • Ones I like from listening so far:
      Dungeonesse (great electronic pop)
      Disclosure (too smoove)
      Diarrhea Planet (lived up to hype, rockin, catchy)
      Empress Of (what is this a world music blog now? yes please)

  35. Infinity Shred from NYC is another band that I think has potential to make next year’s list. Now I have 37 bands to go through and listen to on this list ;)

  36. Like the attention The Underachievers are getting here. I saw them and Flatbush Zombies open for Joey Bada$$ a couple months ago. They blew the roof off the place, by the time Joey came out I was thinking… “how are you gonna follow that?”….and he couldn’t

    • Nice playlist. Super stoked for CHVRCHES to drop next week. I’m in the camp that Parquet Courts isn’t really “new” but whatever, they rock all sorts of hard. Me thinks they even dropped a new track a few weeks ago that was on NPR, but I’m too lazy to look for it now. Also, if anyone has the chance to see Pure Bathing Culture live, do it. I liked the album, but it doesn’t do their live act justice.

      For everyone that’s been vibin to Diarrhea Planet, but have only listened to Separations… check out Kids or Skeleton Head.

    • Totally didn’t mean to hit Reply.

  37. I know they’ve had some decent success with this list in the past, but this year’s selection absolute $hiite so far. It goes from unimaginative and banal MOR rehash to unlistenable. Granted I’m only 20/40 so far, maybe the second half gets better. It’s been rather disappointing.

    There’s been a lot better stuff released this year by new/newer/newish artists that is missing. Just to show I’m not just talking out my arse, try Ghost Loft – So High, Hearts – All The Days, Broken Fences – Song For You, London Grammar – Strong, Josh Pyke – Leeward Side, Junip…And I’m just speaking off top of my head. A few bands/artists that use melodies and a few chord changes could have helped this list a lot. I’m just saying.

  38. Bands I’ve been obsessed with this year, thus far:
    Diarrhea Planet (I actually don’t mind the name… do I have an immature sense of humor? Yes. No shame.)
    Pity Sex (same as above)
    Speedy Ortiz
    Chance the Rapper (Chicago, represent!)
    Potty Mouth
    PUP (their full-length needs to be here, like, now)

    Bands I’ve discovered through this list and must explore further:
    Power Trip

    I’ve excluded Disclosure and Parquet Courts since they were more 2012 in my eyes, but I love them all the same.


  39. Everyone has their own horse in this race, but I’m a little sad that Young Fathers aren’t getting more attention this year. Maybe it’s because they have only released two EP length tapes through Anticon, and not a proper full length. But if you put TAPE ONE and TAPE TWO together, you get something that will pass as one of my favorite albums this year.

    Just a lot of fresh sounds from a Scottish group of experimental hip hop and electronic music makers. I would say they are something like TV On The Radio, only in a more basement production infant stage.

    Their tapes have been ignored by Pitchfork, but every review I’ve read of their tapes is absolutely glowing. Anthony Fantano from The Needle Drop loves them.

    But don’t just take my word for it:

  40. Isn’t it a logical fallacy to say that Disclosure made the second best album of the year so far and then not put them at #1 on this list?

  41. The fact that Oliver Wilde isn’t on here says something. What it says, I’m not sure. He has the best debut of the year, far and away.

  42. sup doodz. how’s my fav music peez doin?

  43. Pharmakon is killer.

  44. No Rose Windows?

  45. Love the playlist. I was always rooting for:
    A$AP Ferg
    FKA Twigs

    But the greatest achievement on this list was definitely “clipping.” It’s clipping, bitch.

  46. A few of my favorites to emerge this year:
    Twin Peaks
    Dan Croll
    London Grammar
    Cayucas (mentioned)
    CVRCHES (mentioned)………….And many, many more.

  47. Here’s every band on this list ranked and a few that are missing (because, why not?)

  48. Predictions for next year’s list?
    I’ll go with Oozing Wound and Hysterics.

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